When a family moves to a new home, things can be stressful for both parents and children. Especially if the move is to a new city or region of the country (or even to a different country!), the mental, emotional, and physical adjustments may cause upheaval in a previously happy household. Here are some tips to help smooth things over with each age group in the family.
If you have a baby, the move will likely be easiest for her – that’s great news, right?! Babies thrive on routine, so try to keep to a normal rhythm during the moving process. Put her down to nap in a quiet room upstairs at her regular nap time while the movers pack the downstairs. If you have to drive a long distance, see if you can start the drive just after baby wakes up, so she’ll be in a happy mood getting in her car seat and pack plenty of finger-food snacks to keep her busy. Then enjoy the quiet while she naps. After you arrive at your new home, set up the nursery as similarly to her old one as possible. Use the same bedtime routine, same blanket and lovey, and same white noise machine. Chances are, baby will be just as happy waking up in her new home as she was in the old one.
Toddlers and preschoolers are a bit trickier. He may feel loads of anxiety when first arriving at his new home. Try to play-act the move in advance with his favorite stuffed toys and a doll house (even a shoe box will work) or some Hot Wheels cars and a garage, by setting it up in one room of the house, then relocating it to another to show how everything is the same, just in a different location. Talk about the move several weeks in advance, but not too far ahead. Young children live in the present and cannot grasp the fact that something will happen months in the future, especially if there aren’t any daily changes like boxes being packed or potential buyers viewing your current home. Be prepared for behavior regression and trouble sleeping. The good news is, with a lot of love and patience, most young children fully adjust after about six months.
For elementary school-aged kids, a move could go either way – an exciting new adventure or the end of the world. Either way, it is a good idea to spend lots of time talking about both the positive and negative aspects of the move. Let your child know that any feelings she is having are OK. Involve her in the moving process by having her scope out new houses with you and listening to her opinion (even if you don’t take it). Give her specific jobs, such as packing up her toys and bathroom items which will strengthen feelings of security and importance.
The teen years can be rough, emotions (and hormones!) are running high at this point in a child’s life and that can make it difficult for your child to accept the idea of moving. It is also a socially unique time, as lots of students have a set group of friends that they have grown up with, and this can make it even harder to be the new kid on the block. Get him involved in new activities right away after the move. This will practically force him to make new friends while doing something he enjoys. Sign up for an art class or after-school sport. Not only does physical activity naturally make him feel better, it will give him the chance to do something he is good at, which also makes him feel better.
So, pack a lot of patience along with some extra love and attention, and embrace the excitement of your move. A parent’s attitude can go a long way in shaping the overall mood of the family.

  1. JP O'Grady Canary Gold 4:56